A STORYBOOK CASTLE IN SOUTHAMPTON
Built for a business titan in the 1920s, Ocean Castle estate with 8.2 acres and 500 feet of Atlantic Ocean frontage is ready for its next chapter
840 Meadow Lane, Southampton, New York
The storied Southampton estate known as Ocean Castle gets its name from its fantastical turrets and sheer size—19,000 square feet with more than eight acres and 500 feet of prime frontage on the Atlantic. But anyone who has gaped at its sprawling series of wings, nooks, and entrances likens it more to a medieval European village than a summer home in New York.
The historic home sits on Meadow Lane—known as "Billionaire Lane" thanks to the ultra-wealthy homeowners who occupy one of the country's most prestigious residential streets. It dates back to the late 1920s and has long been a subject of fascination. A feature titled "A House that Ambles Over the Dunes," published in Town & Country magazine in 1930, for example describes it as, "A very long house, which stretches over the dunes with lazy, casual grace making use of the various levels of the site to do entertaining things with individual units linked together to achieve something that attractively resembles a Brittany fishing village."
Businessman William F. Ladd commissioned Peabody, Wilson, and Brown architects to design his dune-nestled vision, completed in time for the summer season in 1929. The architects emulated the Gallic countryside with a concrete composite exterior fashioned to mimic the native building stone found throughout its northern coastal regions like Normandy for their Francophile client. This trompe l'oeil created a buzz in the American design world at the time—and continues to impress today, almost a century later.
Rust-red roof tiles, manufactured in Colorado of all places, also celebrate provincial France. Today's developers' dream of sourcing Ocean Castle's oak half-timber work used for its exterior embellishment and cathedral ceiling's rafters in the living room; naturally weathered at the bottom of a lake, the wood's further exposure to the elements after it was installed ensures timeless quality and character that one doesn't come across too often.
The Ladd's desired to travel beyond France in their daily life here—and the details of the home take inspiration from around the world. They borrowed a chimney style from Bermuda and imported colorful tiles by way of the Panama Canal for hallways and the dining porch. The poolscape's monopteros, a circular colonnade sans walls that was ubiquitous in ancient Greece, also recalls Slim Aaron's iconic photograph "Nice Pool."
There are more than 30 rooms in total—including 15 bedrooms and 12 bathrooms. An enormous grand living room with a double-height ceiling and imposing stone hearth sits at the heart of the home, offering a space for family and friends to gather. Additional living spaces are a mix of private and social areas, including a bright and airy library overlooking the ocean, an impressive formal dining room, a media room, and an office. There's even a dedicated gallery space where future residents can display and celebrate works of art.
Each of the rambling rooms surprises and delight with its unexpected details. One boasts a 17-foot-high ceiling, while another's windows form the shape of a ship's bow. Innovative design features include the dining porch's system to raise and lower plate glass windows and screens to enjoy ocean breezes on pleasant days and encourage a coastal lifestyle that blurs the boundaries between interior and exterior.
The property sits between the Atlantic Ocean and Shinnecock Bay, where it meets Heady Creek, and boaters can moor watercraft at a bay-front parcel for easy ocean access through the Shinnecock Inlet. The site maximizes water views through the genius of its man made dunes and stilt construction, thoughtfully hidden by those very dunes. Many of the living spaces and bedrooms feature artfully framed views over the ocean or the bay, inviting the dramatic landscape into the home. Other rooms boast more intimate views of the sand dunes.
Previous owners have added other amenities throughout the years. The heated, gunite pool spans 48 feet with an attached spa pool. A tennis court, fitness center, sauna, and games rooms conjure up childhood trips to Coney Island.
The attached staff quarters are located to the west of the garage bays and accessible from the service driveway. Everything else is located under one roof. The fifteen bedrooms include seven with ocean views and four for staff.
Though some of the home's rare design elements are destined to be keepers, new owners will most likely want to create their own vision just as Mr. Ladd did. Whether faithfully restored or slated for a complete interior renovation in a whole new direction, Ocean Castle's story is to be continued.
840 Meadow Lane, Southampton, N.Y., is listed for $75,000,000.
For more information and a private showing,
Tim Davis, Licensed Associate Real Estate Broker
Thomas P. Davis, Licensed Real Estate Salesperson
Corcoran Group Real Estate
24 Main Street Southampton, NY 11968
631.702.9211 or 516.356.5736